Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Halfway. Shooting Guards. Notes from NBA Stat Audit

Every year after each team has played their 41st game of the NBA season, I do a statistical audit of the players in the league, looking specifically at efficiency per-minute. I analyze each player that has logged at least 300 minutes, plus a select few others that are of note. Here is a quick synopsis of what I learned, about shooting guards...

MJ - the perfect two-guard.
Shooting Guards

The usual suspects are atop the shooting guard, per-minute efficiency rankings. The numbers at the top, historically speaking, are very low. Almost always, there is a two-guard with an efficiency rating over .600. But this season, at the halfway point of the season, there is not a single player that can boast that. The best, still, is the World Champion Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade at .597. He is followed by the Western Conference Champion Spurs' Manu Ginobili at .591. Hmm... So an efficient two-guard is a key winning in the NBA? Word to Michael Jordan it is. 

Ranked third is James Harden at .586. Harden and the Houston Rockets are 25-15 in games he's played in this season. Fourth best is the currently injured Eric Bledsoe at .564. The Phoenix Suns are 16-8 in games where Bledsoe plays. 

In theory, those ranked in the top 30 are worthy of being NBA starters. Who ranks in the top 30 league-wide but is not (yet) a regular starter or 'heavy minutes' player? There are three: Jordan Hamilton, Jimmer Fredette, and Jeremy Lamb. 

The Lambinator!
Jordan Hamilton in Denver, again, rates high (14th) but his defensive liabilities have kept him from gaining favor with Nuggets coach Brian Shaw or George Karl before that. Jimmer Fredette plays backup point guard in Sacramento. Clearly, he is being mis-labeled. Fredette's assist-to-turnover ratio ranks 196th of 452 players in the NBA. (His teammate Quincy Acy has a better assist-to-turnover ratio). As a shooting guard, Fredette's efficiency rating of .447 would rank him tied for 17th at the position. Like Hamilton, Fredette's defense is beyond sketchy. Jimmer ranks 407th of 452 in "defensive rating". ...Lamb, ranked 22nd, is the most likely player to be a full fledged NBA starter among Hamilton and Fredette. 

Who is an NBA starter at shooting guard that ranks outside the top 30? Joe Johnson (31st), Gerald Henderson (33rd), Klay Thompson (34th), Randy Foye (38th), Jodie Meeks (40th), James Anderson (41st), Dion Waiters (49th), Jimmy Butler (50th), J.R. Smith (51st), Thabo Sefolosha (57th), and Marcus Thornton (59th). Among those eleven players, only three play on winning teams (Klay, Foye, and Thabo). 

The highest rated rookie at the position is Victor Oladipo. The Magic's new guy ranks 25th. ...Sacramento's Ben McLemore ranks 66th of 74. Any player outside outside the top 60 at any NBA position is a guy that probably should not be playing meaningful minutes; at least not on a team serious about winning as many games as possible. 

Read about point guards here.

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